The beauty of bookend championships

Posted 5/30/24

Cranston resident Alfred Travieso, AKA Danger Boy Alfredo, recently became the Renegade Wrestling Alliance’s oldest individual champion after securing the Hype Championship belt.

He is a …

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The beauty of bookend championships


Cranston resident Alfred Travieso, AKA Danger Boy Alfredo, recently became the Renegade Wrestling Alliance’s oldest individual champion after securing the Hype Championship belt.

He is a longtime partner of Wolverine, and the team has won multiple tag team championships. However, the last time Danger Boy took home an individual title was back in 1995 when he was just breaking out in the sport.

His story and road back to a title encapsulated one of my favorite dynamics in sports: Bookend championships.

I love those stories. When a player or coach wins a championship early in their careers, thinking that it is going to be easy, but then goes on a drought and claims one more just in time before they hang ‘em up.

Championship stories are always great. Whether it is the newcomer that had an early break out, the older athlete that finally gets one after paying his or her dues over an extended career.

There’s something about bookend championships that is so awesome, though.

Before Danger Boy’s title, the most recent one I got to cover was Toll Gate girls basketball coach Jim Areson’s championship win back in March. He won a field hockey title with Vets nearly 20 years ago as a young coach, then had a drought before finally breaking through on the basketball court. There are plenty of examples of this, but these two recent ones are fresh on my mind.

In these stories lie two messages, one is motivational and the other is a cautionary tale.

In terms of motivation, it shows that age doesn’t matter and that you can always get back on top if you put in the work. Danger Boy admitted in our interview that he is inching toward the end of his career, but desperately wanted just one more shot at being a champion. As for Areson, age is not as big of a factor for coaching, but he put in the work across three sports and proved that he is still one of the best coaches in the state. The new generation of players, the ever evolving sports that he coaches, haven’t slowed him down one bit.

The cautionary tale is that just because you win one, doesn’t mean it will be easy moving forward or that you will absolutely win another. Every championship requires a ton of work, a ton of commitment and elite performance. Sometimes, we see these young players and coaches let their guard down after getting one early, then all of a sudden, a decade or two goes by and they wind up empty handed.

Tom Brady spoke of this as well. He won three Super Bowls in his first four years as a starter, then it took him 10 years to capture the fourth. Many people, myself included, doubted that he’d ever get back on top during the drought. Boy did he prove us wrong, but in later years he admitted that he underestimated how challenging winning a Super Bowl was after being spoiled in his early years.

Congrats to Danger Boy on winning the title, getting one for the older guys. His outreach goes far beyond Cranston, as he competes all throughout New England and umpires baseball in Rhode Island in the spring and summer. He made a statement for so many people. What a cool story.

Lastly, the Boston Celtics swept the Indiana Pacers to reach the upcoming NBA Finals. The Celtics were heavy favorites this series, so it was a bit expected.

Each passing win, we have to take a moment to tip our caps to Joe Mazzulla. The Johnston native continues to impress and has taken this team to the finals in just his second year as a head coach.

Sure, the Celtics roster is loaded. That does not mean winning is a given, though. Every year we see super teams fall short for various reasons. Mazzulla has done a great job of getting the most out of this star-studded cast and has four wins to go before getting the ultimate prize.

I am no basketball expert, but from watching at home, you can see the improvements that Mazzulla has made since last season. He has been much more consistent and efficient with his timeouts, his rotations, his substitutions. He really has hit another level with his command of the game which has been huge in the team improving on last year’s finish.

If the team can stay healthy and play to its potential, it should win it all. It’s simply too stacked not to. The Celtics, at this point, will have to beat themselves.

pitch, column, championships


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